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Sounds Like a Plan

Reviewed by Herb Levy

(Gamewright, 4 to 8 players, ages 10 and up, about 30 minutes; $19.99)

 

soundslikeIn the world we live in, it seems that everyone has an opinion and they are never shy about offering advice. Those truisms are the basis for this new party game from Gamewright: Sounds Like a Plan.

Sounds Like a Plan is designed by Colleen McCarthy-Evans and Joyce Johnson and comes with 300 advice cards, 100 “to do” cards, 8 wooden pawns, an “advice” die, game board and set of instructions.

All players are dealt a hand of six advice cards. (Remaining advice cards are stacked, face down, in piles around the board for easy access by the players.) 20 to 30 “to do” cards are placed face down on their marked space on the board. The game is played in a series of rounds and the start player begins the first round.

On a round, the top “to do” card is turned over. Each one of these cards lists three possible activities that someone might do. Activities range from the serious (“Meet the President of the United States”, “go to medical school”) to the silly (“Hold an ice cube as long as possible”, “train to be a Sumo wrestler”).

The start player rolls the advice die to determine the type of advice sought. A roll might require the “best” possible advice or the “worst”. A roll might require that advice offered should be the kind a grandmother might suggest or a little kid. At this point, the start player announces which one of the activities he or she plans to do. However, if “psychic” is rolled, the start player does NOT reveal the chosen activity. It is up to the other players to “divine” which activity and provide advice accordingly. Finally, if “wild” is rolled, the start player may choose any of the types of advice for the round.

Once the type of advice wanted is decided, all players select an advice card from their hand and pass it to the start player, face down. Advice cards generally offer reasonable suggestions (“pay all your bills first”, “dress in layers”, “call a therapist”). It’s the juxtaposition of the situation with the advice that creates the fun.

The collected cards are shuffled and then revealed. These cards are then placed on the board in a certain rank: the card that best fits the action with the type of advice (in the opinion of the start player) gets the top spot (worth 5 points). Next best takes the second slot (worth 4 points) and so on, down to the fifth and final spot worth 1 point. (If playing with more than 6 players, someone will be shut out of the scoring!) Players move their tokens along the scoring track a number of spaces equal to the points scored.

Now, players draw a new advice card to bring their hands back to six and the next player to the left becomes the active player for the next round. The first player to score enough points to cross the finish line of the scoring track (45 points or more) wins!

It should be no surprise if the mechanics of the game seem a little familiar. Ever since Apples to Apples (featured in the Spring 1999 GA REPORT) hit the adult party game scene, there have been a bunch of games following the format of a start player (acting as judge) determining which of a group of answers is the best and players scoring if their answer is selected. However, Sounds Like a Plan tweaks that formula in two ways: by having multiple scoring opportunities (so players need not be shut out from scoring) and different requirements each round as to what is considered “best” so an advice card that may seem hopeless may be just the one you need next time. But don’t despair of being stuck with “bad cards”. You are allowed to trade in some or all of your advice cards ONCE per game. And, speaking of “best”, in this game you don’t always need the “best” answer (whatever that means). What you really need is to have a BETTER answer than most of the other players. Consistent scoring of 2 and 3 and 4 points will beat the player scoring an occasional 5 points every time.

The idea of offering plans and crisscrossing the advice with the situation can lead to some pretty amusing combinations. One caveat though: games like this are very heavily dependent on the make-up of the group. The incongruity of the advice with the situation can be undermined with a group that won’t/can’t get into the spirit. Know your audience.

A bunch of good friends gathered together, sharing laughs and having a good time? Sounds like a Plan!

 


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